A Place at Parker’s Table
Some stores and restaurants are more inviting than others. At Parker’s Table, the name itself says welcome, sample the cheese, sniff the tea, wander the aisles of imported condiments and sweets. Sit a spell, learn about the wine, or enjoy a gourmet sandwich. If you’re tired of the same old thing, here’s where you can add some pizzazz to your home cooked meals. If you like, book a big party in their spacious, homey dining room.
Beurre de Baratte, A Smear of Heaven
I was at Parker’s recently on a mission: to get some French butter. My daughter said if I ever tasted it, I’d never go back to any other. She couldn’t remember the name though. “Just tell them you want the same butter that Robin buys,” she smiled.
Beurre de Baratte is a butter made in Normandy, apparently from very contented French cows. Those who have discovered this rustic spread speak of it with the same reverence you’d afford a $1,200 Bordeaux. When I inquired about the butter, a customer standing nearby patted her heart, indicating her love for the French spread. (Though she might have been portraying the butter’s heart-fluttering price.)
What’s in this “Bovine Caviar?”
The butter is churned the old-fashioned way and comes with an 82% fat content. Rodolphe Le Meunier, a 3rd generation cheesemonger, whose name appears on the gold foil wrapper, explained how the Old World butter is made. Cream is injected with starter cultures—much like yogurt—then churned and hand-molded. One taste and you know why the highfalutin spread is a favorite in LA’s best restaurants, where a surcharge is sometimes added for the treat.
The French ambrosia caused writer and food critic Ruth Reichl to declare, “This butter is dangerous!” She went on to explain, “With a loaf of bread, I could go through all of this butter.” I had the same feeling as I smeared a sliver on a slice of Parker’s homemade French bread. This is good stuff.
For me, there was a bit of deja vu that came with my first taste. I recall being served butter made in a churn, when visiting relatives in Virginia during WW2. It was the real McCoy! But at our house, in the interest of the war effort, we were eating a funky looking substance called oleomargarine. You had to add a capsule of yellow dye, so it didn’t look like lard.
Thanks heavens, we won the war, saved Normandy, and put those cows backs to work!